Cholesterol is a lipid that is naturally produced by the liver and also gained through certain foods as well. It is a waxy substance that is present in every cell and is carried in the bloodstream by being attached to proteins known as lipoproteins.
Cholesterol is important for the building of cell membranes and hormones, and also to protect the nerves. When most people think of cholesterol, they think of something bad that could clog the veins or arteries and higher an individual’s chance of heart disease. But the truth is that we have both good and bad cholesterol, known as LDL and HDL. Hence, you should be concerned about how to improve the cholesterol in your body. However, which is the is good cholesterol?
Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL): this builds up in the blood vessel and makes it more narrow for blood to pass through. Sometimes, a clot is formed, and it gets stuck in the vessel, making the individual more prone to a heart attack or stroke. LDL is referred to as “bad cholesterol” and people are advised to keep the LDL cholesterol levels low by all means.
High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL): this helps remove LDL from the bloodstream and transport it down to the liver where it is reprocessed and removed from the body. Since HDL helps to refuse LDL in your bloodstream, your body requires more HDL and less LDL.
Being healthy has to do with more than simply reducing your LDL as you also have to make sure that you have high levels of HDL. More HDL means you have a higher chance of preventing heart diseases and other things that may be caused by having too much LDL. There are drugs, known as statin, that help to lower LDL, but they only do half the work as you have to do other things to increase your HDL.
Let us look at some of the things you can do to increase the good cholesterol in your body.
How To Improve The Good Cholesterol In Your Body
Improving the good cholesterol in your body involves doing some healthy things, as well as stopping some unhealthy things that increase bad cholesterol.
1. Eat The Good Fat
Some people think it is wise enough to stay away from fat in general to reduce their cholesterol levels. Instead, what they need to do is consume more of the healthy type of fat; monosaturated and polyunsaturated fat. These types of fats can be found in plants and fruits like nuts, avocado, garden eggs, blueberries, and animals, like salmon, herring, and mackerel. Even though these types of fats are good, you are advised to eat in moderation. There are some more foods that increase the good cholesterol levels such as olive oil, red wine, nuts and soy beans.
2. Stay Off Unhealthy Fats
There are some fats that are not good for the body, and should their intake should be avoided or reduced. Saturated fats are the kind you find in butter, milk, cheese, and bacon. There is also trans fat, which you find in processed foods like snacks, baked foods, and fried foods. Cutting your consumption of such type of fat can reduce your LDL cholesterol and give chance for HDL cholesterol. Here are some Nigerian foods with low cholesterol you can eat.
3. Exercise Regularly
Make sure to get, at least, 30 minutes of recorded physical activity every day. This could be something as basic as taking a walk, jogging, running, doing pushups, cycling, and so forth. Exercise helps keep you healthy in general and could help raise your HDL levels.
4. Lose Weight
Overweight people have high levels of LDL cholesterol and are very low on HDL. But working to reduce your weight can eventually reduce your LDL cholesterol and increase the HDL cholesterol in your body. Take active steps to lose weight as it even makes you healthier in general. Losing weight involves doing physical exercises as well as eating healthy foods for weight loss.
5. Quit Smoking Cigarettes
Smoking is generally bad for the body as it has direct impacts on your lungs and heart. It also reduces your HDL cholesterol, putting you at greater risk. Luckily it can be reversed. Simply quitting smoking can help you gain healthy HDL cholesterol levels.
6. Take More Soluble Fibre
Soluble fibre makes digestion easier and also helps to reduce the LDL cholesterol in your body while increasing your HDL cholesterol. Examples of food rich in soluble fibre include rice, oat, beans, and fruits. Here are some Nigerian foods that are rich in fibre, which you should definitely include in your diet.